>WHO report on tracing of virus origins
The World Health Organization on Tuesday released a report on the global tracing of COVID-19’s origins, following joint research with China on issues, including the pathways of the virus and future investigation in different countries.
According to the report, COVID-19 introduction through an intermediate host is "likely to very likely," introduction through cold/food chain products is "possible," and introduction through a laboratory incident is "extremely unlikely."
The experts also put forward a series of recommendations for future research: Developing a comprehensive information database, conducting further retrospective and systematic research around earlier cases and possible hosts, and analyzing the different role of the cold chain in the possible introduction and spread of the virus.
>NPC approves HK electoral reform bills
China's top legislature on Tuesday adopted a package of legislative changes to improve Hong Kong's electoral system. The amended Annex I and Annex II to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region were passed at a session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee with a unanimous vote from all 167 committee members in attendance. The two annexes respectively concern the method for the selection of Hong Kong’s chief executive and the method for the formation of the Hong Kong Legislative Council and its voting procedures.
"A democratic electoral system suiting Hong Kong's legal status and reality has taken shape as a result of the amendments," said the chairman of the NPC Standing Committee. Li said the two amended annexes fully demonstrate the resolution and common will of the Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, as well as the constitutional order of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
>FAST opens to global astronomers
China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, the world's largest single-dish and most sensitive radio telescope, officially opens to the world starting Wednesday.
被誉为"中国天眼"的 500 米口径球面射电望远镜(FAST)，北京时间3月31日零点正式向全世界开放。"中国天眼"是当今世界最大单口径、最灵敏的射电望远镜。
Astronomers worldwide can visit http://fast.bao.ac.cn/proposal_submit to submit their applications for observations, said the National Astronomical Observatories under the Chinese Academy of Sciences in a statement.
All foreign applications will be evaluated, and the results will be announced on July 20. Observations by international users will begin in August.
The statement noted that the telescope will provide its research facilities to the world with a more open attitude, offering more observation options for the international astronomical community. The project will contribute Chinese wisdom to the construction of a community with a shared future for humanity, and strive to promote international sci-tech development and the progress of human civilization, said the statement.
>Progress in water resource protection
China has made historic breakthroughs in protecting water ecology and the environment in recent years, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said Tuesday. All cities at or above the prefecture level had eliminated 98.2 percent of the 2,914 "black and odorous" water bodies nationwide as of the end of last year, said ministry official Zhang Bo at a press conference.
All industrial parks in provincial-level regions or above had installed facilities for wastewater disposal, Zhang said.
Cities at or above the county level had rectified more than 10,000 cases of irregularity concerning sources of urban potable water.
During the three-year period, the Yangtze River saw the water quality of its main stream rated at Grade II or above for the first time.
Looking ahead, Zhang said the ministry will extend the work on black and odorous water bodies to the county level with tailored solutions and set a blacklist for cities where such polluted water reemerges.
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